Innocenti Spider & Coupe (1960-1968)
At the 1960 Turin Auto Show, BMC's Italian partner Innocenti showed an attractive little Spider built upon Sprite underpinnings. The car was the first design of Tom Tjaarda's, drawn for Carrozzeria Ghia. Ghia's partner firm OSI built the bodyshells, when the car entered production in early 1961.
The original Innocenti 950 Spider had the Frogeye's 948 cc engine with 43 hp (32 kW), 624 of these were built. Later in 1961 an uprated 46.5 hp (35 kW) was installed. In February 1963 the 1098 cc "S" model was introduced, this also had front disc brakes to cope with the extra power.The 1100 has 58 hp (43 kW) and could also be fitted with a removable hardtop. The Spider wasn't a mere reshelling, as the entire bulkhead was moved forward to provide longer doors and a more modern look. Unlike the spartan Frogeye, the Spider also had wind-up windows and a permanent windscreen.
The Innocenti Spider originally sold well in Italy, with production running at 13 cars per day in 1962, but it had a hard time competing against the cheaper Sprite in export markets. As more modern competitors arrived and as the British-built Sprite was modernised, sales dropped precipitously, with only 63 cars built in 1965.
Thus, Innocenti presented the reworked Innocenti Coupé in September 1966, still with the same 1100 engine as seen in late Spiders. The badging on the car simply read "Innocenti C". The Coupé's all-new bodywork was wider and longer than the Spider's, and the wheelbase was extended by 150 mm to 2,180 mm (85.8 in). The floorpan was reworked to allow for the seats to be mounted lower than in a Sprite, making the cabin less cramped. It was competitively priced in the Italian market, slotting nicely between the smaller Fiat 850 Coupé and the bigger Fiat 124 Sport Spider. Only 794 were built when production ended in 1968. 4,790 of the 950 Spiders were built, and 2,074 of the 1100 cc Spiders.